Wednesday, September 19, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Systematic Revision of Calotes Cuvier, 1817 (Squamata: Agamidae) from the Western Ghats adds Two Genera and Reveals Two New Species

Monilesaurus acanthocephalus  M. montanus
 Pal, Vijayakumar,  Shanker,  Jayarajan & Deepak, 2018

Lizards of the genus Calotes are geographically restricted to South Asia, Indo-China and parts of Southeast Asia. The greatest diversity of the genus is from the biodiversity hotspots in South Asia: Western Ghats (Peninsular India), Sri Lanka and Indo-Burma. Here, we present a systematic revision of members of the genus Calotes from Peninsular India using a combination of molecular phylogeny, geographical distribution and morphological characters. We show that Calotes from the Western Ghats is paraphyletic and consists of three major clades, one of which is widely distributed in South and Southeast (SE) Asia, while the others are restricted to Peninsular India. The Peninsular Indian clade is composed of two sister clades: Psammophilus, with a wider distribution and a second clade, composed of two extant species, Calotes rouxii and Calotes ellioti and two new species, all restricted to the Western Ghats region. Based on morphological differences, we retain the generic status of Psammophilus and assign its sister clade to a new genus Monilesaurus gen. nov. and transfer the following species, C. rouxii and C. ellioti, to this new genus. We also provide diagnoses and descriptions for two new species recognized within Monilesaurus gen. nov. In addition, Calotes aurantolabium from the Western Ghats was observed to be deeply divergent and to share a sister-relationship with the clade composed of CalotesMonilesaurus gen. nov., and Psammophilus. Based on its phylogenetic position and morphological attributes, we assign this species to a new genus Microauris gen. nov. These new discoveries highlight the evolutionary significance of the Western Ghats in housing novel lizard diversity.

Keywords: Reptilia, Agamidae, Calotes, new genus, MicroaurisMonilesaurusPsammophilus, Western Ghats

FIGURE 7. Lateral photograph showing live coloration of
 A. adult male Monilesaurus acanthocephalus gen. et sp. nov. and B. adult male Monilesaurus montanus sp. nov. 

FIGURE 8. Lateral photograph showing live coloration of  adult female Microauris aurantolabium comb. nov.

Saunak Pal, S.P. Vijayakumar, Kartik Shanker , Aditi Jayarajan and V. Deepak. 2018. A Systematic Revision of Calotes Cuvier, 1817 (Squamata: Agamidae) from the Western Ghats adds Two Genera and Reveals Two New Species. Zootaxa. 4482(3); 401–450. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4482.3.1

[Mammalogy • 2018] Climate Niche Conservatism and Complex Topography Illuminate the Cryptic Diversification of Asian Shrew‐like Moles (Uropsilus, Uropsilinae, Talpidae)

Uropsilus sp. 

in Wan, He, Jin, et al., 2018. 

The drivers of extraordinary species diversity and endemism in biodiversity hotspots remain elusive. To identify such drivers, it is necessary to understand the origin of allopatric cryptic diversity that formed as an important part of the biodiversity in low‐latitude montane areas. Here, we test hypotheses regarding the patterns and processes that underlie the diversity of Asian shrew‐like moles (Uropsilus, Uropsilinae, Talpidae), which exhibit strikingly high cryptic diversity. Specifically, we test the hypotheses that niche conservatism and complex topography explain the largely cryptic diversification of these small montane mammals.

The mountains of Southwest China (MSC), which are a biodiversity hotspot, and adjacent areas.

Materials and methods: 
A total of 186 specimens that include all seven species of Uropsilus were collected from key geographical areas of the MSC. One mitochondrial and six nuclear genes were sequenced for phylogenetic and phylogeographical analyses. We reconstructed the phylogeny and delimited species boundaries within Uropsilus using multiple methods. We also tested the hypothesis of phylogenetic niche conservatism and examined the effect of topography on genetic divergence. Furthermore, we implemented a hierarchical examination of spatial‐temporal dynamics in our study system.

Phylogenetic and species delimitation analyses discovered vastly more cryptic diversity than had been identified in morphology‐based taxonomy. Significant niche similarity between sibling phylogroups was detected and the genetic structure of Uropsilus accorded well with the topography of the MSC. Relatively stable biogeographical diffusion and demography, as well as in situ persistence during the last glacial cycle, were detected.

Main conclusions: 
Our analysis indicates that much genetic diversification has occurred without evident niche divergence; hence topographical diversity has provided strongly geographical isolation and ecological gradients which reinforce niche conservatism for sedentary organisms. Cryptic species, as the consequence of a lack of variability in the traits, is attributed to stabilizing selection by the optimal ecological and/or climatic envelopes over evolutionary time‐scales. Our findings indicate that global biodiversity in certain areas could be underestimated. Analyses of other biological systems can determine the universality of niche conservatism in the mountains of Southwest China.

KEYWORDS: Asian shrew-like moles, cryptic diversity, mountains of Southwest China, niche conservatism, phylogeography, sky islands, Uropsilus

Tao Wan, Kai He, Wei Jin, Shao‐Ying Liu, Zhong‐Zheng Chen, Bin Zhang, Robert W. Murphy and Xue‐Long Jiang. 2018. Climate Niche Conservatism and Complex Topography Illuminate the Cryptic Diversification of Asian Shrew‐like Moles. Journal of Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13401  

[Crustacea • 2018] Identity of the Tree-Spider Crab, Parasesarma leptosoma (Hilgendorf, 1869) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae), with Descriptions of Seven New Species from the Western Pacific

Parasesarma macaco
 Li, Rahayu & Ng, 2018

The identity of the tree-spider crab, Parasesarma leptosoma (Hilgendorf, 1869) (family Sesarmidae), which is believed to be widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific, is reassessed and shown to be a species-complex with nine species, seven of which are here described as new. Parasesarma leptosoma sensu stricto is now restricted to South and East Africa; and P. limbense (Rathbun, 1914) from Sulawesi, which had been regarded as a junior synonym, is here recognized as a valid species. The following species are described as newP. gecko n. sp. from Vanuatu, Fiji, Guam and Japan; P. macaco n. sp. from Taiwan and the Philippines; P. kui n. sp. from Taiwan; P. parvulum n. sp. from the Philippines; P. gracilipes n. sp. from Indonesian Papua; P. purpureum n. sp. from Malaysia; and P. tarantula n. sp. from Sulawesi, Indonesia. The nine species of the Parasesarma leptosoma species-complex can be separated by the different shapes of their carapaces, the form of the dactylar tubercles on the male chelipeds, proportions of their ambulatory legs and the structure of the male first gonopod.

Keywords: Crustacea, Parasesarma, tree-climbing, species-complex, new species, taxonomy

 Jheng-Jhang Li, Dwi Listyo Rahayu and Peter K. L. Ng. 2018. Identity of the Tree-Spider Crab, Parasesarma leptosoma (Hilgendorf, 1869) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae), with Descriptions of Seven New Species from the Western Pacific. Zootaxa. 4482(3); 451–490. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4482.3.2

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] Speolabeo hokhanhi • A New Cavefish (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from Central Vietnam

Speolabeo hokhanhi
Tao, Cao, Deng & Zhang, 2018

Hokhanh’s Blind-cavefish  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4476.1.10 

Speolabeo hokhanhi, new species, is here described from Hang Va Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (Son River basin) in Central Vietnam. It can be distinguished from S. musaei by having no papillae on the lower lip, no hump immediately behind the head, a duckbilled snout, a shorter caudal peduncle (length 16.8–18.6% SL), and the pelvic fin inserted closer to the snout tip than to the caudal-fin base.

Keywords: Pisces, Speolabeo, new species, cavefish, Central Vietnam

FIGURE 2. Speolabeo hokhanhi sp. nov., fresh individual immediately after capture. Lateral view.

Speolabeo hokhanhi sp. nov.

Diagnosis. Speolabeo hokhanhi can be easily distinguished from S. musaei by having a lower lip without papillae (vs. with a band of papillae along its anterior margin), no hump immediately behind the head (vs. present), a duckbilled (vs. pyramidal) snout, the pelvic fin inserted closer to the snout tip than to the caudal-fin base (vs. midway between the snout tip and caudal-fin base) and a shorter (vs. longer) caudal peduncle (length 16.8–18.6% SL vs. 19.6–22.7). All data here used for S. musaei are from Kottelat and Steiner (2011).

Etymology. The specific epithet is named in honor of Mr. Ho Khanh who discovered many caves in Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park. He was a local guide of the cavefish survey conducted by the first author during 2014 into the cave where the type specimens were collected and provided detailed information about the collection site.
 As common names, we suggest Hokhanh’s Blind-cavefish (English) 
and cá mù hang va hồ-khanh (Vietnamese).

 FIGURE 4. Distribution of Speolabeo hokhanhi (▲).

Distribution and habitat. Speolabeo hokhanhi is known only from the type locality (Fig. 4). Hang Va Cave is roughly 35 km south of Phong Nha village, rather close to Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest known cave that is 5 km long, 200 m high and 150 m wide. A 24 km southward drive along the West Ho–Chi–Minh highway starting from the tourism center of the Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park leads to the point closest to the cave site of the Hang Son Doong. From there, roughly 1.5 hours’ northward walk following a narrow stony track through thick forest arrives at Hang Va Cave. Its entrance is about 30 meters above the ground. A descent of 15 m from the entrance reaches a cave passage containing a subterraneous stream. Downstream for approximately 200 meters, there is a shallow water pool with many stalagmites, usually 2–3 m tall (Fig. 5), where the type specimens of the new species were collected during the dry season. At this time, the pool had a muddy substrate and was 0.5–1.5 m in depth, 10 m wide, and 25 m long. More than 30 individuals of about the same size were observed in the pool; only six were captured using a hand-net. The fishes were swimming slowly and haphazardly, rather close to the water surface; when disturbed, they swam deeper, but did not seek shelter. A new shrimp species was found to sympatrically occur with the cavefish (Do & Nguyen 2014).

Nguyen Dinh Tao, Liang Cao, Shuqing Deng and E Zhang. 2018. Speolabeo hokhanhi, A New Cavefish from Central Vietnam (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Zootaxa. 4476(1); 109–117.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4476.1.10

[Herpetology • 2018] Leptobrachella bondangensis & L. fusca • Two New Species of the Genus Leptobrachella (Anura: Megophryidae) from Kalimantan, Indonesia

Leptobrachella bondangensis
 Eto, Matsui, Hamidy, Mumir & Iskandar, 2018

Two new species of the dwarf litter frog genus Leptobrachella are described from North and Central Kalimantan, Indonesian part of the Borneo Island. Leptobrachella fusca n. sp. from Bulungan Regency, differs from all congeneric species in the following combination of characters: body small (SVL: 16.3 mm in a male); dorsum uniformly dark brown; sides of body without marking; a series of elongate ventrolateral glands present on flank; ventrum darkly pigmented except for throat and posterior portion; lineae masculinae invisible through ventral skin in preservative; and toe webs rudimentary. Leptobrachella bondangensis n. sp. from Gunung (=Mt.) Bondang of Murung Raya Regency, is distinct in possessing the following combination of characters: body large as this genus (SVL: 17.8 mm in a male); dorsum grayish brown; sides of body without dark blotches; a sparse series of rounded ventrolateral glands present on flunk; ventrum pale gray with dark mottles; lineae masculinae invisible through ventral skin in preservative; and toe webs rudimentary.

Keywords: Borneo, Kalimantan, Leptobrachella, New species, Taxonomy

Leptobrachella fusca  n. sp. 
Dorsal, lateral and ventral views of male holotypes (A–C, MZB Amph 9089).
Scale bar=10 mm.

Leptobrachella fusca n. sp.
Leptobrachella myobergi: Iskandar, 2004: 10 (part).

Etymology: The specific epithet “fusca”, a Latin word meaning dark or black, is derived from uniformly dark ventral coloration of the new species.

Leptobrachella bondangensis n. sp. 
 Dorsal, lateral and ventral views of male holotypes (D–F: MZB Amph 26212). 

Leptobrachella bondangensis n. sp.

Etymology: The specific name is derived from its type locality, Gunung Bondang.

Koshiro Eto, Masafumi Matsui, Amir Hamidy, Misbahul Mumir and Djoko Iskandar. 2018. Two New Species of the Genus Leptobrachella (Amphibia: Anura: Megophryidae) from Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Current Herpetology. 37(2); 95-105. DOI: 10.5358/hsj.37.95

[Crustacea • 2018] Karstarma malang • A New Sesarmid Crab of the Genus Karstarma (Decapoda: Brachyura) Associated with Limestone Formations in East Java, Indonesia

Karstarma malang
Wowor & Ng, 2018

  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4482.2.7  

A new stygobitic sesarmid crab species is described from underground freshwater cave streams in the southern Malang karst range on the south coast of East Java Province, Indonesia. Karstarma malang n. sp. is morphologically most similar to K. jacobsoni (Ihle, 1912) from an underground river cave system in the southern coast of the Special Region of Yogyakarta Province in central Java, but differs in having a relatively larger cornea, less swollen ocular peduncle which lacks a ridge along the median part, proportionately shorter ambulatory legs and a more slender male first gonopod. This paper increases the number of the species of Karstarma Davie & Ng, 2007, to 16; the new species being the eighth of the genus from Indonesia. It is also the third species which has a distinctly reduced cornea.

Keywords: Crustacea, Sesarmidae, Karstarma malang, new species, karst, caves, Java, Indonesia

Daisy Wowor and Peter K. L. Ng. 2018. A New Sesarmid Crab of the Genus Karstarma (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) Associated with Limestone Formations in East Java, Indonesia.  Zootaxa. 4482(2); 355–366.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4482.2.7

[Ichthyology • 2018] Monopterus rongsaw • A New Species of Hypogean Swamp Eel (Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae) from the Khasi Hills in Northeast India

Monopterus rongsaw
Britz, Sykes, Gower & Kamei, 2018

 A new species of hypogean swamp eel, Monopterus rongsaw, is described from the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya, India. It was discovered while digging rock-strewn and moist soil close to a small stream during attempts to find caecilians. The new species differs from other synbranchids by the combination of absence of skin pigmentation, the eyes being tiny and covered by skin, and a count of 92 precaudal and 69 caudal vertebrae.

Ralf Britz, Dan Sykes, David J. Gower and Rachunliu G. Kamei. 2018. Monopterus rongsaw, A New Species of Hypogean Swamp Eel from the Khasi Hills in Northeast India (Teleostei: Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. IEF-1086:1-12

New species of blind eel that burrows through the soil discovered

[Botany • 2018] Thismia kobensis (Thismiaceae) • A New and Presumably Extinct Species from Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

 Thismia kobensis Suetsugu

in Suetsugu, Nakanishi, Kobayashi & Kurosaki, 2018

Thismia Griffith (1844: 221), Thismiaceae J. Agardh or Burmanniaceae sensu APG VI (2016), is one of the most species-rich mycoheterotrophic genera, consisting of ca. 80 species (Jonker 1948, Merckx et al. 2013). Considering that most of these species were collected only once (Jonker 1948) and that many new species have recently been discovered in various Asian countries (e.g. Suetsugu et al. 2017, 2018), many more undescribed species are likely in these regions.

Oxygyne Schlechter (1906: 140) is a rare, mycoheterotrophic plant genus that consists of six species. It has one of the most remarkable distributions of all angiosperm genera and is disjunct between Japan and western Central Africa (Cheek et al. 2018). Although O. hyodoi Abe & Akasawa (1989: 161) was described based on the specimens discovered in Ehime Prefecture, Kobayashi & Kurosaki (1993) noted that a specimen that was morphologically similar to O. hyodoi was also discovered in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture. However, the specimen differed from O. hyodoi in many features. As noted by Tsukaya (2016), characters such as the prominent annulus on the perianth tube suggested that it may not even belong to the genus Oxygyne. In addition, although it was identified as O. hyodoi based on its short perianth lobes (Kurosaki, personal communication), such flowers have also been noted in the genus Thismia (Tsukaya 2016). Therefore, it is highly probable that the specimen collected in Kobe was not O. hyodoi, but a Thismia species (Tsukaya 2016). 

So far, only one specimen of the putatively unknown Thismia species has been found, and two of the three inner perianth-lobes in this specimen were broken. In addition, the population was almost certainly destroyed during construction of an industrial complex, and no additional specimens have been found. Fortunately, the other parts of this specimen, including an inner perianth-lobe and all three of the outer perianth-lobes were completely preserved, so we conducted a taxonomic investigation using this specimen. Careful examination revealed that the unknown plant actually belongs to the genus Thismia. Here, we describe it as a new species, Thismia kobensis Suetsugu, as this specimen was found to have a significantly different floral morphology from the other known Thismia species. In addition, the unknown species belonged to the section Rodwaya Schlechter (1921: 38), as it had the vermiform, creeping roots, the inner perianth lobes without free filiform appendages and inner perianth lobes connivent at their apex. Here, we describe it as a new species, with discussions on the taxonomic validity of the section Glaziocharis (Taub. ex Warm.) Hatusima (1976: 4). 

FIGURE 2.  Thismia kobensis (from the holotype).
 A–B. Flowering plant. C. Flower, upper view. D. Flattened perianth tube. E. Stamens, inner view. F. Stamens, outer view. G. Style and stigma. Two broken inner perianth lobes are indicated by the dotted lines in A, B and D. 
Drawn by Kumi Hamasaki. Bar = 1 mm.

FIGURE 1.  Thismia kobensis (holotype) from the type locality.

Thismia kobensis Suetsugu, sp. nov. 
Type:— JAPAN, Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe City, Nishi-ku, Oshibedani-cho, Komi, ...alt. 200 m, 10 June 1992, Nakanishi & Kobayashi 22380 (holotype: HYO, in spirit collection).

Thismia kobensis is close to T. huangii Jiang & Hsieh (2011: 139) from Taiwan but differs in having a hexagonal prismatic perianth tube, white tepals and free stamens

 Distribution:— Japan (so far known from only type locality). 

Preliminary conservation status:— Extinct (EX). Thisima kobensis is known from only a single individual at Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture. The specimen was collected in secondary forest dominated by Quercus serrata and Q. glauca in 10 June 1992. Although intensive surveys of the population discovered in June were conducted from 1992 to 1999, we did not discover additional T. kobensis plants. In 1999, the area was completely destroyed during the construction of an industrial complex. Since then, we have searched the surrounding intact areas in June each year but have failed to record any individuals. It is highly likely that the last individual has died, and this taxon is presumed extinct, although we need further efforts to discover additional individuals.

Notes:— According to Jonker (1938), Thismia kobensis belongs to the section Rodwaya, as it has vermiform and creeping roots, inner perianth lobes without free filiform appendages and inner perianth lobes that are connivent apically. In the section Rodwaya, T. kobensis is most similar to T. huangii from Taiwan, in having a dark-orange annulus, yellow and truncate connectives with hairs, stigma lobes with hairs and no nectaries. However, it is easily distinguished from T. huangii in having a hexagonal prismatic and less hairy perianth tube (vs. urn-shaped and densely hairy perianth tube), white tepals (vs. pale orange to yellow), and stamens free from each other (vs. adnate, forming a tube around the style). 

In addition, in having the stamens free from each other, T. kobensis is somewhat similar to T. abei (Akasawa) Hatusima (1976: 7) that belongs to the section Glaziocharis. So far, free stamens have not been reported in any species of Thismia except T. abei. However, T. kobensis clearly differs from T. abei in having a hexagonal prismatic perianth tube (vs. urn-shaped perianth tube), dark orange prominent annulus (white inconspicuous annulus), yellow rectangular connective (vs. white spatulate connective), outer perianth lobes without filiform appendages (vs. outer perianth lobes with long filiform appendages). Because appendages of the outer perianth lobes are considered a diagnostic character to distinguish sections Glaziocharis and Rodwaya (Kumar et al. 2017), we believe that T. kobensis is a member of Rodwaya. However, it should also be noted that several recent molecular studies suggested that the appendages of perianth lobes have little systematic significance in Thismia (Hunt et al. 2014, Merckx & Smets 2014, Kumar et al. 2017, Sochor et al. 2018). Actually, molecular results have clearly suggested that section Glaziocharis is not monophyletic and should be incorporated in section Rodwaya (Hunt et al. 2014, Merckx & Smets 2014, Kumar et al. 2017). Both our results (i.e., similarity of stamen morphology between T. kobensis and T. abei) and molecular analyses indicate that it is not necessary to distinguish Glaziocharis and Rodwaya as distict sections. 

Given that mycoheterotrophic plants are highly dependent on the activities of both the fungi and the trees that sustain them (Suetsugu et al. 2014, 2017b), they are particularly sensitive to environmental disturbance. Therefore, most mycoheterotrophic species are rare and seriously endangered. Furthermore, our study clearly indicated that some mycoheterotrophic plants have become extinct before being described. As the precise identification of most mycoheterotrophic plants requires detailed observations of floral organs that are hidden in the perianth tube (Tsukaya & Hidayat 2016, Suetsugu 2017a, b), re-examination of herbarium specimens will be useful for understanding both past and current diversity of the mycoheterotrophic flora. 

Kenji Suetsugu, Osamu Nakanishi, Tomiki Kobayashi and Nobuhira Kurosaki. 2018. Thismia kobensis (Burmanniaceae), A New and Presumably Extinct Species from Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.  Phytotaxa.  369(2); 121–125. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.369.2.6

New plant species discovered in museum is probably extinct | Research at Kobe @KobeU_Global
New plant species discovered in museum is probably extinct via @physorg_com

Monday, September 17, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] Review of the Indo-West Pacific Genus Inimicus (Synanceiidae: Choridactylinae)

Inimicus cuvieri (Gray, 1835)

in Inaba &  Motomura, 2018.

The stinger genus Inimicus Jordan & Starks, 1904 (family Synanceiidae), distributed in the Indo-West Pacific, is characterized by having two free pectoral-fin rays. Examination of the original descriptions and 420 specimens, including all available type specimens, of the genus resulted in the recognition of nine valid species: Inimicus brachyrhynchus (Bleeker, 1874) (recorded from Hong Kong and Singapore), I. caledonicus (Sauvage, 1878) (distributed in Andaman Sea and western Pacific Ocean), I. cuvieri (Gray, 1835) (Andaman Sea and western Pacific Ocean), I. didactylus (Pallas, 1769) (western Pacific), I. filamentosus (Cuvier, 1829) (western Indian Ocean), I. gruzovi Mandrytsa, 1991 (Coral Sea), I. japonicus (Cuvier, 1829) (East Asia), I. sinensis (Valenciennes, 1833) (eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans), and I. smirnovi Mandrytsa, 1990 (southwestern Pacific Ocean). Inimicus joubini (Chevey, 1927), previously considered a valid species, is herein regarded as a junior synonym of I. japonicus. Another 10 nominal species are confirmed to be synonymized with the nine species. A revised diagnosis for each species and a key to all the species are provided.

Keywords: Pisces, stinger, taxonomy, synonym, morphology, distribution

 Tomoki Inaba and Hiroyuki Motomura. 2018. Review of the Indo-West Pacific Genus Inimicus (Synanceiidae: Choridactylinae). Zootaxa. 4482(1); 52–90.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4482.1.2

Sunday, September 16, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Multilocus Phylogenetics in A Widespread African Anuran Lineage (Brevicipitidae: Breviceps) Reveals Patterns of Diversity Reflecting Geoclimatic Change

Breviceps namaquensis Power, 1926

 Namaqua rain frog from east of Port Nolloth, Northern Cape, Republic of South Africa.

in Nielsen, Daniels, Conradie, et al., 2018. 
  DOI:  10.1111/jbi.13394
Photo: Stuart V. Nielsen

To investigate models assessing the influence of geomorphology and climatic shifts on species diversification in sub‐Saharan Africa by reconstructing the pattern and timing of phylogenetic relationships of rain frogs (Brevicipitidae: Breviceps).

Location: Sub‐Saharan Africa, south of the Congo Basin.

Multilocus sequence data were generated for near complete species‐level sampling of the genus Breviceps. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred via Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood analyses on both concatenated and single‐gene datasets. Network analyses identified locus‐specific reticulate relationships among taxa. Bayesian methods were used to infer dates of divergence among Breviceps lineages, and niche modelling was used to identify possible adaptive divergence.

Breviceps is monophyletic and comprised of two major, largely allopatric subclades. Diversity within each subclade is concentrated in two areas with contrasting geologic and climatic histories: the arid/semiarid winter rainfall zone in the south‐western (SW) Cape, and the semitropical East Coast that receives predominantly summer rainfall. Recognized species diversity in the SW Cape based on phenotypic variation is consistent with observed genetic patterns whereas the East Coast is shown to harbour unexpectedly high genetic diversity and up to seven putative, cryptic species. Niche models show significant overlap between closely related species.

Main conclusions: 
Dating analyses indicate that diversification of Breviceps occurred rapidly within the Miocene, with only a moderate decline over the Plio‐Pleistocene, suggesting that this process might be slowed but ongoing. Our findings suggest that a combination of two models, a landscape barrier model and climate fluctuation model, can explain patterns of diversification in Breviceps. This demonstrates that Miocene epeirogenic events and climatic shifts may have had a considerable influence on contemporary patterns of biodiversity. Topographic complexity and relative geoclimatic stability in the East have promoted cryptic diversification in allopatry, and this area clearly harbours numerous undescribed taxa and is in need of detailed biotic investigation.

KEYWORDS: climate fluctuation model, cryptic species, distribution modelling, Great Escarpment, landscape barrier model, Miocene, rain frogs

Stuart V. Nielsen, Savel R. Daniels, Werner Conradie, Matthew P. Heinicke and Brice P. Noonan. 2018. Multilocus Phylogenetics in A Widespread African Anuran Lineage (Brevicipitidae: Breviceps) Reveals Patterns of Diversity Reflecting Geoclimatic Change. Journal of Biogeography.  45(9) DOI:  10.1111/jbi.13394

Friday, September 14, 2018

[Paleontology • 2018] Yizhousaurus sunae • A New Sauropodiform Dinosaur with A ‘Sauropodan’ Skull from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province, China

Yizhousaurus sunae 
Zhang, You, Wang & Chatterjee, 2018

The Early Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province in southwestern China is one of the best fossil localities in the world for understanding the early radiation of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. It has yielded a rich assemblage of complete and three-dimensionally preserved skeletons of herbivorous dinosaurs that provide crucial morphological information for systematic and evolutionary studies. Here we describe a new taxonYizhousaurus sunae gen. et sp. nov., represented by a nearly complete skeleton with an exquisitely preserved skull and mandible. Yizhousaurus is distinguished from other non-sauropodan sauropodomorphs by a unique combination of plesiomorphic and apomorphic features, which increases our understanding of the anatomical variation on the relatively conservative ‘prosauropod’ cranial plan. Phylogenetic analysis resolves Yizhousaurus as a sauropodiform, showcasing a mosaic character suite combining plesiomorphic states in the postcranial skeleton with some more ‘sauropodan’-like features in the skull. Furthermore, Yizhousaurus is placed closer to the base of Sauropoda than other non-sauropodan sauropodomorphs currently known from the Lufeng Formation, adding another taxon to enrich the Lower Jurassic Lufeng dinosaur fauna.

Figure 2 Status of preservation of Yizhousaurus sunae gen. et sp. nov.
 (A) The reconstruction in sketch of Yizhousaurus in left lateral view (drawn by Xiao-Cong Guo), regions in red rim represent absent elements; (B), the original burial map of Yizhousaurus 
(drawn by Qian-Nan Zhang).

Systematic Paleontology

Dinosauria Owen, 1842
Saurischia Seeley, 1887
Sauropodomorpha von Huene, 1932
Massopoda Yates, 2007

Sauropodiformes Sereno, 2007 

Yizhousaurus sunae gen. et sp. nov.

Holotype: LFGT (Bureau of Land and Resources of Lufeng County, Yunnan, China) -ZLJ0033. An undistorted skeleton about 7 meters long, including a well-preserved skull and mandible, a mostly complete vertebral series (9 cervicals, 14 dorsals, 3 sacrals and 5 anterior caudals), pectoral and pelvic girdles, forelimbs (lacking both carpi) and both femora (Fig. 2A).

Type locality and horizon: The specimen was collected near Duwafang Village, Chuanjie Town, Lufeng County, Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (Fig. 1); the skeleton was excavated in the uppermost layer of the Zhangjiaao Member of the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation.

Etymology: The generic name Yizhou refers to the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province. The specific name is in honor of Professor Ai-Ling Sun, for her great contribution to Chinese vertebrate fossils, including those from Lufeng.

Differential Diagnosis: A medium-sized sauropodiform distinguished from other non-sauropodan sauropodomorphs with respect to the following unique combination of character states (autapomorphies marked with *): lateral plates appressed to the labial sides of the premaxillary and maxillary teeth but not the dentary teeth*; anteroposterior expansion at the dorsal end of the maxillary ascending ramus; antorbital fenestra anteroposteriorly narrow and pipe-shaped in outline*; lacrimal shaft vertical with respect to the maxillary ramus*; transverse width of the ventral process of the postorbital greater than its anteroposterior width at midshaft; anterior tip of the dentary anterodosally curved over the alveolar margin*; tiny external mandibular fenestra (about 5% of the mandibular length)*; broad axial intercentrum wider than its centrum; deep depressions on the lateral surfaces of centra of dorsal vertebrae 3–6; hyposphenes of the anterior dorsals equal to their neural canals in height; and subelliptical cross-section of the midshaft of the femur.

Comment: Yizhousaurus sunae was briefly reported as a basal sauropod at the Geological Society of America Conference in 2010, but has never received formal study. In addition, its fourth and fifth caudal vertebrae are fused together, which is considered pathological in nature.

Qian-Nan Zhang, Hai-Lu You, Tao Wang and Sankar Chatterjee. 2018. A New Sauropodiform Dinosaur with A ‘Sauropodan’ Skull from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province, China. Scientific Reports.  8,  13464.  DOI:  10.1038/s41598-018-31874-9

 Chatterjee, Sankar; Wang, T.; Pan, S.G.; Dong, Z.; Wu, X.C.; Upchurch, P. 2010. A Complete Skeleton of A Basal Sauropod Dinosaur from the early Jurassic of China and the Origin of Sauropoda. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. 42 (5): 26.

Found: First complete remains of early sauropod dinosaur via @physorg_com

[Herpetology • 2018] Gracixalus tianlinensis • A New Species of Gracixalus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from West Guangxi, China

Gracixalus tianlinensis
Chen, Bei, Liao, Zhou & Mo, 2018

We discovered a new species of the genus GracixalusGracixalus tianlinensis sp. nov. which is morphologically almost similar to G. jinggangensis, G. jinxiuensis and G. sapaensis, but is distinguished from these species and all other rhacophorids in China and adjoining countries by a combination of the following characters: (1) SVL 30.3-35.9 mm in male, 35.6-38.7 mm in female, (2) head length less than head width, (3) vomerine teeth absent, (4) supratympanic fold distinct, (5) axilla and posterior surface of flanks pale yellow, (6) nuptial pads distinct on Finger I and slightly visible on Finger II, (7) dorsum brown to beige, with an inverse Y-shaped dark brown marking, (8) single subgular vocal sac. Our preliminary phylogenetic analyses implied G. tianlinensis sp. nov. is sister to G. sapaensis with well-supported values. Currently, this new species is known to be distributed in montane evergreen forests in association with montane bamboo in Cenwanglaoshan National Nature Reserve, Tianlin County, Guangxi, China.

Keywords: Gracixalus tianlinensis sp. nov.;  Rhacophoridae;  Southern China

Figure 1 (A) Dorsolateral, (B) dorsal and (C) ventral view of the holotype in life, (D) ventral view of the hand and (E) ventral view of the foot of the holotype, (F) showing nuptial pads on Finger I and Finger II.

Gracixalus tianlinensis sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: G. tianlinensis sp. nov. is assigned to the genus Gracixalus based on molecular data and morphological characters. Morphologically, the new species presents an intercalary cartilage between the terminal and penultimate phalanges of digits, tips of digits expanded into large disks with circummarginal grooves and also the vomerine teeth were absent with the pupil being horizontal. Gracixalus tianlinensis sp. nov. is distinguished from all other rhacophorids by a combination of (1) SVL 30.3- 35.9 mm in male, 35.6-38.7 mm in female, (2) head length less than head width, (3) vomerine teeth absent, (4) supratympanic fold distinct, (5) axilla and posterior surface of flanks pale yellow, (6) nuptial pads distinct on the first finger and slightly visible on the second finger, (7) dorsum brown to beige, with an inverse Y-shaped dark brown marking, (8) single subgular vocal sac.

Etymology: This species is named after the locality in which it was collected. The suggested English name is Tianlin small tree frog ( 田林纤树蛙 in Chinese).

Weicai Chen, Yongjian Bei, Xiaowen Liao, Shichu Zhou and Yunming Mo. 2018. A New Species of Gracixalus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from West Guangxi, China. Asian Herpetological Research. 9(2); 74-84. DOI:  10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.170085